Self Energy Audit
By understanding your energy usage, you can take charge of your electric bill. Use these formulas to help calculate your energy usage and projected costs.
A watt (W) is a measurement of power. Most appliances and light bulbs are labeled with the wattages they use.
A kilowatt (kW) is equivalent to 1000 watts.
A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a measurement of energy consumption. It is the amount of power used over time, and the basis for how electric bills are calculated.
Calculate Energy Consumption: Power × Time = Energy. For example, using a 100-watt bulb for 10 hours equals 1 kWh. (100 watts × 10 hours = 1000 watt-hours or one kilowatt-hour.)
Calculate Energy Costs: Power (kW) × Time (hours of operation) × Price ($/kWh) = Cost of Operation
To find out how much it may cost to run a specific appliance, follow these 5 easy steps. Keep in mind that you are billed per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or for how much electricity you use in one hour. Examples are based on an average cost of $0.144 per kWh.
- Obtain the wattage (watts) from the appliance nameplate. Example: A quartz heater with a nameplate of 1500W. Note: if listed as kW, skip to step 3. If amps are specified, multiply amps × voltage to obtain watts.
- Divide the number of watts by 1000 to get kW. Example: 1500W ÷ 1000 = 1.5kW.
- To find out how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) the appliance uses, multiply the kW × the number of hours* the appliance is running each day. Example: The heater runs for 10 hours per day = 1.5kW × 10 hours = 15 kWh per day.
*If the appliance operates for less than one full hour, (i.e. a hair dryer), divide the number of minutes by 60. For example, a hair dryer is used 5 minutes each day, or 5 ÷ 60 = 0.083 hours per day. A 1250W hair dryer = 1.25kW × 0.083 hours per day = 0.1 kWh per day.
- To calculate the daily operating cost, multiply the kWh of the appliance by the average cost per kWh. Example: The quartz heater daily cost = 15 kWh × $0.144 = $2.16 per day to operate.
- To calculate the monthly operating cost, multiply the daily cost by the number of days the appliance is used during the month. Example: If you run the 1500W quartz heater 10 hours per day, 30 days per month = 15 kWh × $0.144 × 30 = $64.80.
Remember: Calculate and Conserve! For the example used, you might want to conserve energy by putting the heater on a thermostat or timer to decrease the time it is used.
Use this do-it-yourself Home Energy Audit to find ways to save. Check each area of your home to make sure you're using energy efficiently. Every nook and cranny holds potential inefficiencies, so it pays to be thorough!
Insulation & Ductwork
- Minimum R-value of 38 for insulation (approximately 12 inches of blown-in cellulose or 18 inches of clown-in fiberglass)
- Insulation spread evenly
- Insulation in good condition
- Attic vents are unblocked by insulation
- Attic access doors properly insulated and sealed
Walls & Floors
- Minimum R-value of 10 for perimeter walls (approximately 2 inches of foam board insulation)
- Minimum R-value of 25 for under-floor insulation (approximately 5.5 inches of fiberglass batt insulation)
- Ductwork sealed and insulated
- Hot water pipes insulated
Heating & Cooling
- Air supply and return vents are unblocked by furniture
- Air handler filters are clean
- HVAC system has had annual maintenance check-up
- Programmable thermostat installed and programmed: 78º or higher in the summer, 68º or lower in the winter
Appliances & Lighting
- Appliances are ENERGY STAR qualified
- Inactive battery chargers, electronics, and appliances unplugged
- Refrigerator and freezer condenser coils clean
- Refrigerator door gasket tight
- Dishwasher energy-saving feature turned on
- Washing machine loads run with cold water when possible
- Line dry laundry when possible
- Dryer duct clean
- Use LEDs with the ENERGY STAR label
- Outdoor lighting automatically triggered by motion or photosensor
Windows & Doors
- Windows close and lock properly
- Window gaskets in good condition
- Window trim sealed with caulk
- Doors properly weather stripped
- Doors close and latch properly
- Plumbing and electrical entrances sealed:
- Under sinks
- Dryer vents
- TV and phone line entrances
- Gaskets behind outlets and light switches
- Fireplace damper sealed tightly
- Thermostat set to 120º F
- Water heater insulated if in unconditioned space
- Low flow showerheads, with flow rate of 2.25 gallons per minute (gpm) or less, and faucet aerators, with flow rate of 2.2 gpm or less, installed
- Pipes insulated
- No dripping or leaking faucets
- Operating properly
- Good pressure
- No leaks
- Clean and dust light fixtures to ensure they give out as much light as possible
- Use your microwave or toaster oven – it's more energy-efficient than either a gas or electric oven
- Air dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher's drying cycle
- Turn off all unused lights, electronics, and appliances
- Use surge protector power strips for electronics, such as TVs, DVD players, and game consoles - turn off the power strips when electronics are not in use
- Wash full loads of clothes and dishes
- Clean the lint filter on your clothes dryer after each load and periodically check exhaust duct for leaks, buildups, or blockages
- Keep your freezer full – Frozen food helps keep other food frozen, which means less work on your freezer
- Check the seal on your refrigerator and freezer with the dollar-bill test – Close the door on a bill so that part of it is left outside – then try to pull the bill out of the door – if it comes out easily you should install a new seal
- Position your refrigerator at least 4 inches from the wall if it has back coils – Keep the main compartment between 36º and 38º F and keep the freezer between 0º and 5º F
- Haul away that old refrigerator or freezer in the garage
- When purchasing new appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label – These products meet strict efficiency guidelines
- Setting your thermostat to 78º F or higher in the summer and 68º F or lower int he winter can greatly decrease your heating and cooling costs
Water Conservation Audit
Are you interested in saving money on your water bill?
Graham County Electric Cooperative (GCEC) knows that most families and businesses are looking for ways to trim back on necessary budget costs. We believe we can provide you with the information and options that may lower your water bill with GCEC plus there is no cost or obligation to our water customers.
Water Counts, a local water conservation education program, has made available to all GCEC residential and commercial customers a free water volume usage analysis. This analysis will provide a review of water flow rates, detection of system leaks, proper equipment function and may be performed both indoors and outdoors as determined by the owner. Some low-income households may qualify to have repairs completed by the Water Counts program.
If you are interested in having an analysis performed or learning more about water conservation, please contact the following individual for more information:
To make an appointment for your free usage analysis you will need your GCEC customer number found on your utility bill. By contacting this outside agency and providing your customer number to Water Counts, you agree to share your water usage history with Water Counts so that a detailed water analysis can be performed. Please note that no financial information will be released to the water analysis team or the public and only summarized usage information may be used for reporting purposes.